Girl Grapplers Score Hit In Wrestling Bout

Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch – March 18, 1937
By Tom Reilly

Close to 2,000 persons, some skeptical, but all curious, jammed their way into the City Auditorium last night to witness the novel spectacle of two fair young lassies doing a bit of grappling, &, judging from the general tenor of the talk around town today, the mauling misses scored a smashing hit with their surprisingly rough, fast brand of wrestling.

The two young ladies, Clara Mortensen, women’s champion, & Patsy Hayes, New York damsel, whose combined weight wasn’t but a few pounds more than any one of the men on the program, are credited with drawing the largest crowd ever to witness & grunt & groan show at the auditorium. Even the times Jack Dempsey & heavyweight champion Jimmy Braddock refereed here, the crowds weren’t as large as the one last night.

Blonde Clara was still in possession of her title today, but she experienced a great deal of trouble in downing her scrappy little opponent after 10 minutes of furious scuffling, most of which took place in the aisles. The gals were not only rougher than their masculine colleagues but also were far faster.

Starting off fast, Clara was tossing her opponent about with a devastating arm whip when she suddenly found herself seated in the lap of a first-row spectator, who bye the bye, didn’t seem to mind it at all. The fight was about even until Clara knocked the breath out of Patsy with a body slam & slapped on a body press to win the joust.

Referee Buck Miles really got the worst of the women’s bout, being resoundly smacked on several occasions by the irate contestants who didn’t seem to think much of his careful refereeing. At one point, Clara grabbed Buck’s feet & sent him crashing to the floor to the delight of the customers.

Promoter Moore said last night that he intended to bring Miss Mortensen back as soon as he can arrange to match her with a suitable opponent. Moore said he hopes to get Mildred Burke, who handed Clara her only defeat in five years of professional wrestling, at Chattanooga last month. Clara downed her in their second meeting, in what, Moore reports, was the hardest fight of her career.

The girls had to go the limited last night to outdo the men who staged a rousing show themselves. Bob Wagner, Southern California bad boy, threw big Mayes McLain in the main event, two out of three falls. Rowdy Robert captured the first fall with a body press after a series of body slams, & McLain came back to win the second fall in four minutes with a beautifully executed flying dropkick which landed both his feet on Wagner’s chin. Wagner turned on the rough work to win the last fall in six minutes with a body slam.

The main attraction in the men’s part of the program last night were the tattoo work which nearly covered the body of Jack “Bull” Curley, of Detroit, & the bristling black beard which adorned the aristocratic pan of Count Ivan Micheloff, absolutely the “last” of the Romanoffs (we hope).

Curley, the mean, surly walking art gallery, won over Joe Marsh, Wyoming cowboy, in 19 minutes. The art work which Curley carried about on his epidermis was much more interesting than his wrestling.

When Alan Eustace, Kansas veteran, bounced a few right hands off the chin of Micheloff, the count forgot his early training as gentleman among the Russian nobility & applied a very unaristocratic stranglehold on his foe. Referee Miles promptly disqualified him. The count said after the bout that he suspects referee Miles of being a Communist.

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